Ahead of holiday season, John Wayne Airport to provide free COVID-19 testing

Private planes parked at John Wayne Airport.
Private planes parked at John Wayne Airport. The Orange County Health Care Agency announced Friday the airport would be offering free COVID-19 testing kits starting Wednesday, Dec. 8.
(File Photo)

Ahead of the holiday travel season, the Orange County Health Care Agency and John Wayne Airport announced the airport would be providing free self-collection COVID-19 kits starting this Wednesday.

“The health and safety of our travelers and employees is a top priority for the airport,” said Marisa Unvert, a spokeswoman for the airport, in an email. “The test distribution program will complement our healthy travel practices currently being implemented throughout the terminal.”

Currently, the airport requires people to wear face coverings both in the buildings and aboard aircrafts. It also provides rapid COVID-19 testing through Hoag at Terminal B on the departure floor before the TSA security checkpoint. Tests there cost $139.

Unvert said that the county health care agency would be taking care of distribution and that, as of Friday afternoon, the intention is to distribute tests in terminals A and C before security on the upper level and in those same terminals in baggage claims.

Those plans are not yet finalized.

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley said during a media briefing on the new Omicron variant Friday that the tests would be offered to every passenger that leaves John Wayne Airport, but that they would not be required to take it if they chose not to.

“The holidays are about spending quality time with family and friends,” said supervisor and vice chairman Doug Chaffee in a statement. “This is also a time for us to come together and protect our loved ones however we can, which includes continuing to get tested against COVID if we are traveling and in close contact with others who may be unvaccinated.”

As of Friday, there have been no cases of the Omicron variant reported in Orange County, but a case was identified in nearby Los Angeles County on Thursday. Officials there say the cause for transmission to the adult individual was likely related to travel.

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